I left my family in Minneapolis and boarded a plane with my one suitcase and two boxes, heading for San Francisco. Leslea was 12; Rob was 10. They did not understand why I was going. The marriage was over, although neither Sue nor I would come right out and say it.
It had been a rewarding year for me--being on the road recruiting ministers and lay people to attend our training courses and conducting workshops in churches all over the state of Iowa. It had been a horrendous year for Sue and our two kids. Sue had resisted bringing our family into the Order from the beginning. She finally gave in to keep our family together. I had successfully burned my bridges to going back to the local church. But I still had this vocational calling that I couldn’t shuck off. Acting out a vocation is, however, more complicated and more ego-driven than I realized. I was not prepared emotionally or spiritually for leadership and yet had been entrusted with it. Or rather, had it thrust upon me.
At the end of our intern year Sue and I packed up what was left of our belongings (the basement where we had stored everything had flooded) and headed for Minneapolis, our home town. I deposited Sue and the kids at her parents’ home. I stayed with my Aunt Thelma. Our family was unraveling. Members of the Order leadership in Chicago contacted me and urged me to try to keep my family together. Finally, they relented and assigned me to the San Francisco House. I was literally out of options.
I said goodbye to Sue, Leslea and Rob and got on that plane, heading for the unknown.